DA: No charges in Dishong suicide

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Several investigations into the death of Blair County Prison inmate Aaron Wilson Dishong, who was awaiting trial for murder, have concluded there was no basis for criminal charges, according to Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio and Deputy District Attorney Wade Kagarise.

A release from the Blair DA’s office stated Friday that the Blair County coroner was listing Dishong’s Dec. 7 death as suicide.

“The Blair County District Attorney’s Office concurs with this conclusion,” said Consiglio on Friday afternoon.

Dishong’s death was investigated by the Blair County Prison administration, the Hollidaysburg Police Department and the Coroner’s Office.

Prison Warden Michael Johnston said in mid-December his investigation found no wrongdoing involving anybody associated with the jail.

Dishong, 62, was found hanging in his cell at about 6:12 a.m. Dec. 7.

The murder suspect had been on suicide watch in the jail since his arrest in mid-November for the death of 3-year-old Darrel Wayne “DJ” Etchison Jr., who, it was charged, died when Dishong set fire to a duplex at 112 S. Second St., Altoona.

According to the police investigation, Dishong was attempting to kill an ex-girlfriend who was allegedly staying at the residence.

Dishong was initially under level 1 suicide watch but had been moved to the less restrictive level 2 status on the advice of a psychiatrist. He had been talking to a corrections officer only minutes before he was found hanging in his cell.

According to the findings announced Friday, Hollidaysburg Officer Henry T. Fownes arrived two minutes after the body was found. Fownes retrieved a suicide note in which Dishong requested his sister be contacted and in which he set out his burial wishes.

The note did not comment on the crimes for which he was in prison.

“After a review of the Hollidaysburg Borough Police Department’s investigation, the Blair County District Attorney’s office concludes that no basis exists for criminal charges to be filed against any individual as a result of Mr. Dishong’s death,” it stated.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.